Exhibition Will Help Visitors Explore The Reality – and Unreality – of Race

June 7- September 28, 2014

On Saturday, June 7, the North Museum of Natural History & Science and the YWCA Lancaster will confront the issue of race and racism in the United States when the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibition opens in Lancaster. A project of American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, RACE will encourage museum visitors to explore the science, history, and everyday impact of race. The exhibition is sponsored locally by the Lancaster County Community Foundation.

The RACE exhibit addresses the topics of race and racism from three different perspectives. The three sections are interwoven and tell a compelling story of science with deep and lasting social impact. Science: In this section of the exhibition, visitors will discover that human beings are more alike than any other living species, and no one gene or set of genes can support the idea of race. History: Ideas about race have been around for hundreds of years, and they have changed over time. This section of RACE demonstrates that, throughout American history, economic interests, popular culture, science, politics, and the struggle for power have played a role in shaping our understanding of race. Everyday experience:  Though race may not be a real biological concept, it certainly is real both socially and culturally. In this section of the exhibition, visitors will explore the personal experiences of race in our schools, neighborhoods, health care systems, sports and entertainment industries, and more.

“Race is an important part of the American story,” notes Robert Garfinkle, the Science Museum of Minnesota’s program director for special projects and a guiding force in the creation of the RACE exhibit. “This exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to look at the way race touches our lives and the lives of the generations that came before us. They can explore the way they see themselves and others and see that all of our lives are affected by race and racism, both in overt and subtle ways. …We hope its content will challenge communities to increase the quantity – and the quality – of their conversations about race and racism and the experiences they’ve had in their lives.”

The RACE exhibition is part of a larger public education project from American Anthropological Association and funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation. The project is intended to inform and shape the national dialogue about race. In addition to the exhibit, the initiative includes a website (, educational materials and conferences designed to share research and information with the public. For more information, please contact Jill Showalter at (717) 291-4371.

The North Museum of Natural History & Science is located at 400 College Avenue in Lancaster. The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m. Admission is free for members, $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for juniors (ages 3-17) and seniors (65 and over). Planetarium shows are an additional $2.50 to the price of admission. The museum is free for children under three. For more information, call (717) 291-3941 or visit


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